The 5 Best Online Nursing Degree Programs

As you research the best online nursing degree programs, you’ll soon realize that all programs have three basic requirements. First, you must own a current registered nurse license. Second, you must either have an associate’s degree or have completed all appropriate undergraduate coursework for entry as a third-year bachelor’s student. Third, you must be able to organize and participate in clinical internships and practicum sessions in medical facilities in your local area. Beyond these three similarities, a notable difference between online nursing degree programs is whether they require students to travel for on-campus training sessions, which create substantial cost differences between programs that are otherwise quite similar.

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus (PSU-World Campus) is one of two online nursing degrees on this list that does not require students to travel to campus for in-person training. Aside from the clinical training requirements that you complete in your community, all PSU-World Campus courses are delivered completely online on a schedule that accommodates to your work and family life. The program includes all standard nursing courses, from anatomy and chemistry to nursing informatics and health assessment. PSU-World Campus also offers several nursing certificate programs, one of which you can earn alongside your bachelor’s degree. A certificate in nursing management, nursing informatics, or nursing forensics enhances your skills and stands out to potential employers.

The University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) is the other top online nursing degree that doesn’t require visits to campus. UIC also stands out for its highly flexible course scheduling policies, which allow students to set their own pace of study in order to complete the program more quickly or to efficiently manage a busy personal and work life. Four eight-week semesters are offered from fall through spring in addition to two four-week semesters in the summer. Due to the compressed semester schedule, students often take just one course per term. If you take a full course load every semester, you can complete your degree in only 16 months, making UIC one of the fastest online nursing degree completion programs available.

Of the many online nursing degrees that come with mandatory on-campus visits, Brandman University requires the least amount of in-person obligations at their campus in Irvine, California. As a Brandman University online nursing student, you visit campus a single time for a four-day immersion program immediately before your first semester begins. After the immersion program, you begin a predefined course curriculum designed to provide broad training in patient-centered nursing practices, evidence-based decision making, leadership, and medical technology use. Brandman University offers online degree programs in dozens of subjects and ranks among the top-10 online bachelor’s degree providers in the country.

To complete an online nursing degree at Graceland University-Lamoni, you must visit their campus in Lamoni, Iowa, for four days at the outset of the program. At Graceland, you take courses in professional nursing practice and nursing leadership in addition to technical courses like pathophysiology and pharmacology. As a bachelor’s student, you will be taught by many of the same instructors who contribute to the online graduate nursing program at Graceland University that is ranked in the top five by . The instructors have an impressive 15 years of online teaching experience so you can anticipate a smooth online learning experience. All of these benefits don’t come at an extra cost either. As a Graceland undergraduate, you’ll also enjoy some of the lowest tuition rates compared to the other top online bachelor’s in nursing programs.

If you live in or near New York City, or you’re willing to travel there regularly, Pace University may be a great fit. As a Pace nursing student, you travel to campus three or four weekends every semester for training programs and skills evaluation sessions. This is a great setup if you want to combine the convenience of online study with personalized training and practical nursing applications. The program also offers some scheduling flexibility. As long as you complete all prerequisite coursework before your enrollment, you can choose to participate in an accelerated 15-month nursing program, which is nine months shorter than Pace University’s standard program and most other online nursing degree programs in the country. The accelerated program requires you to enroll and begin taking courses in the spring semester.